Le Cordon Bleu Paris – Day 4: Lost Things & Dirty Talk

Last night’s demo was painful. You could tell by everyone’s faces that we were all tired and just wanted to go home. To put it bluntly, most of us looked like shit.

We were shown how to make Gâteau Basque and flan pâtissier. Both require us to prepare crème pâtissière (pastry cream) for the fillings. Gâteau Basque is a traditional dessert that originates from the Basque region of France. Although I’ve never tried it before the demo class, I had read a recipe and I always assumed it was more like a tart than a cake. Which is odd, because gâteau means cake in French. The batter we used is a cake batter, although I guess the traditional one is more of a pastry dough. Someone enlighten me, please?

The flan pâtissier, which is a custard tart, was very yummy. I would have enjoyed the dessert last night a little more had I been less tired.

This morning, we had to make our own Gâteau Basque. When I was laying out my equipment, I realised that my paring knife was missing. Then I realised my pastry brush was missing. Oh, and also my notebook! I felt sick. Absolutely sick. That Wüsthof paring knife costs £35! I was a little embarrassed to keep borrowing stuff from my classmates. But they were nice about it, and for that I am thankful.

This practical didn’t go too well either. Firstly, maybe because the worktop is pretty high (built for Caucasians I guess), whisking the pastry cream was a painful process for me. My arms were aching and I was sweating by the end of it. Secondly, the chef that took us through demo was not the chef that took us for the practical. Of course, we simply made the cake the way we were taught during demo. However, after all our cakes were baked and out of the oven, the chef commented that ALL our cakes had way too much cake batter and that the way we lined our cake ring was wrong. This was the exact opposite of what the other chef told us to do during the demo. SERIOUSLY. We were all pretty annoyed by the conflicting instructions.

Personally, I feel that what the chef told us about our cakes having too much batter and the way to line the cake rings is correct. Simply because it makes more sense. If you look at the traditional Gâteau Basque, you will see that it is actually quite a flat pastry – a layer of pastry cream between two layers of cake or pastry. Our Gâteau Basque was really tall and the proportion of cake to pastry cream was not right. Also, the way we lined our cake ring was with a strip of baking paper slightly taller than the ring. Because we did this, the fan in the oven blew the paper around and it got lodged into some of our cakes. So you see, our chefs are not perfect.

This was my final product:

IMG_0414.JPGGâteau Basque

The next time, I will smooth out the cake batter at the bottom before I pipe the pastry cream on. I was in such a rush today because everyone was so fast. At the end of the practical, Chef asked us all to cut a slice so that he could give us more comments. To my surprise, he said “Très Bien, madame.”, smiled, gave me a pat on the back and walked away. I was obviously less impressed with my own cake.

I had another class at 3.30pm, which gave me about 3.5 hours to kill between. I decided to have lunch with my mum for the first time this week. She leaves tomorrow and I am pretty sure she will miss me (HAH). We had Thai food just across the street. It was a really good meal. The tom yum goong was fantastic. My mum asked me whether I wanted her to leave a deposit at the restaurant so that I could go there any time to eat. If you know me well enough, you know my eating habits aren’t exactly normal. I prefer cold salads to warm meals. I do not enjoy meat, nor seafood. I love my vegetables, fruits, nuts and eggs. My first love is peanut butter. I will have the occasional chicken or fish but I never really care meat at all.

After lunch we walked over to Monoprix just to walk through the supermarket. It is a hobby of mine to gush over fresh produce. I could really live here. The quality of food is fantastic, and there’s such an amazing variety. Even ready made meals are healthful and look so appetising. How I wish we had such food back home in Singapore!

Our afternoon class was a theory class. We had a talk on kitchen hygiene which lasted 3 hours. It was quite an enjoyable talk though. It made me very aware of the bacteria everywhere. You know Taenia, right? Google it 🙂

I met my mum again at the mall to do some “research” for work (not kidding) after class, and bought my new knife and pastry brush, along with a beautiful silicon rose cake mould. We got home at 8.30pm and it is currently 10.23pm, which means it’s bed time for me because I have to be up at 6am again for class!

Bonne nuit!

Le Cordon Bleu Paris – Day 4: Lost Things & Dirty Talk

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